KATHMANDU, Aug 23: As consumers have been reeling under threat from transportation cartel and the shortage of petroleum products since last week, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday issued directives to the concerned ministers to solve the problems at once.
According to consumer rights activist Madhav Timalsina, such directives mean nothing unless implementation of those instructions are carried out and cross checked thereafter.
“Although the PM's directive to Transport Minister Ramesh Lekhak to make transport service effective and people friendly and another directive to Supplies Minister Deepak Bohara to address the present crunch of petroleum products were issued with good intention they will be meaningless if the PM himself doesn't cross-check the implementation of his directives,” Madhav Timalsina, president of Consumers Rights Investigation Forum (CRIF) said.
There are numerous cases in which different government bodies had disobeyed PM's directives on consumer rights issues in the past. The state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) a few months had time and again disobeyed the instruction of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) to reduce fuel prices. OPMCM had also directed related government bodies to slash public transportation fares accordingly but in vain.
In lack of culture of cross-checking the implementation of government's decision and directives, consumer-related problems are often left unsolved.
Timalsina believes that the OPMCM must seek progress of its directives to different ministries time and again until the issues are resolved completely.
“Recent crunch of petroleum products is arbitrary. OPMCM should not just direct responsible bodies to ease supply, but also should intervene directly to solve the crisis,” he added.
Officials of the OPMCM, though, say that they often ask progress reports to government bodies on its decisions and directives. They opine that there is need of separate body to study and deal with the progress of OPMCM's directives.
“Generally we ask progress of our directives to government bodies. However, we lack the tendency to keep records of progresses and follow up until the directives are fully implemented,” Kedar Adhikari, OPMCM secretary told Republica, adding, “We lack a separate agency to check and follow instructions of the government. It is of utmost need.”
In the lack of such independent body to follow up the government's decisions and directives, Adhikari said that the regulatory bodies themselves should take the responsibility of implementing the directives of the government.